#rv/rv Valparaiso (13-3, 3-0 Horizon)
Game #17 - Thursday, January 14 - 7 p.m.
Milwaukee (12-5, 3-1 Horizon)
Athletics-Recreation Center (5,000) - Valparaiso, Ind.
Next Up in Crusader Basketball: The Valparaiso University men’s basketball team looks to maintain its hold on first place in the Horizon League standings Thursday night as the Crusaders welcome Milwaukee to the ARC. With a win, Valpo would establish a new program record for the longest home winning streak at the ARC, as the Crusaders have currently won 20 straight home games.
Last Time Out: Crusader junior forward Alec Peters set a pair of new career highs, including dropping 39 points in leading Valpo to a 92-74 victory at Detroit Sunday afternoon in Horizon League play. With the win, the Crusaders swept the road trip through Michigan and ended the weekend atop the Horizon League standings. Peters also grabbed 14 rebounds, while Tevonn Walker added 21 points as well.
Following the Crusaders: Video - ESPN3.com - Todd Ickow (PxP), David Huseman (Color), Jordan Morandini (Sideline)
Audio – WVUR (95.1 FM, Valparaiso)
Links for the video, audio and live stats will be available at ValpoAthletics.com.
Head Coach Bryce Drew: Bryce Drew (107-45) is in his fifth season at the helm of the Crusader men’s basketball program in 2015-16. In his first four years, Drew has led Valpo to three Horizon League regular season titles, two Horizon League tournament championships and four postseason berths, including a pair of NCAA Tournament appearances. The 2012 and 2015 HL Coach of the Year, Drew ascended to the head coaching position on May 17, 2011 after spending six seasons as an assistant and associate head coach with the Crusaders.
Series Notes: Valpo owns a 18-12 edge in the all-time series over Milwaukee, including an 11-7 record since joining the Horizon League. The series, which traditionally has been tightly contested, has seen six of the last seven games decided by at least 13 points. Last season saw Valpo sweep the series, as the Crusaders jumped out to a 30-5 lead at the ARC and eventually won 73-48, before capturing a hard-fought 62-55 victory in Milwaukee later in the season.
...and the @HorizonLeague
- Valpo has been picked to win the Horizon League in preseason polling, earning 36 of the 43 first-place votes.
- The Crusaders have not finished worse than their preseason projection in the last five years.
- Junior Alec Peters was named to the preseason First Team All-League for a second straight season.
- Seniors Vashil Fernandez and Darien Walker and sophomore Tevonn Walker all earned spots on the preseason Second Team.
...looking back at last year
- Valpo won a program-record 28 games en route to the Horizon League regular season and tournament titles.
- The Crusaders advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the ninth time since 1996 and the 14th time overall.
- Valpo has won two of the last three Horizon League Championships and three of the last four HL regular season titles.
- The Crusaders are one of just four programs in league history to capture at least three regular season titles in a four-year span.
- Bryce Drew was named Horizon League Coach of the Year for the second time, as well as NABC District Coach of the Year.
- Alec Peters was a First Team All-League selection and an NABC First Team All-District choice.
- Vashil Fernandez was named HL Defensive Player of the Year and a member of the All-Defensive Team.
- Jubril Adekoya claimed Sixth Man of the Year honors, while Tevonn Walker earned a spot on the All-Freshman Team.
...notes from Detroit
- Alec Peters set a new career high in scoring, dropping 39 points in the win and also added a career-high 14 rebounds.
- Peters scored 14 of Valpo’s first 16 points en route to a 25-point first half.
- With less than two minutes to play in the first half, Peters was out-scoring Detroit by himself, 25-24.
- The Crusaders won despite giving up 74 points, their most points surrendered in a win since an 82-76 victory over Oakland on Feb. 8, 2015.
- Tevonn Walker added 21 points in the win, becoming the first Crusader to reach 20+ points in back-to-back games this season.
- Valpo won despite shooting just 25% from 3-point range, its first time in the last six games connecting at worse than 40% from deep.
- The Crusaders led by 21 at the half, their largest lead at halftime this season against a D-I opponent.
- Valpo limited Detroit’s leading scorer, Paris Bass, to just 16 points on 5-of-18 shooting.
- David Skara finished with 10 points and has scored nine or more points in each of the last four games.
- Valpo continues the home weekend Saturday evening as the Crusaders host Green Bay.
- The Crusaders then have a quick turnaround for their longest road trip within league play, as they play at Youngstown State on Monday night.
...at the ARC
- Valpo has 15 regular season home games scheduled for the Athletics-Recreation Center in 2015-16 and is already 7-0 at home this year.
- The Crusaders have won 20 consecutive home games dating back to December of 2014.
- The Crusaders posted a 15-1 record at the ARC last season, the second-most home wins in a single season since the building opened.
- Valpo’s .938 home winning percentage last year was also the second-best since the ARC opened.
- Over the last 21 years, the Crusaders own a 257-57 (.818) winning percentage on their home court.
Looking to Set a Record
- With a win on Thursday, the Crusaders would set the program record for the longest winning streak at the ARC.
- Valpo enters Thursday with 20 consecutive home wins, matching the record on Jan. 2 with a win over UIC.
- The Crusaders have not lost at home since falling to New Mexico on Dec. 6, 2014 - Valpo went 15-0 at the ARC in the 2015 calendar year.
- The previous 20-game home win streak at the ARC started Nov. 24, 2001 with a win over Milwaukee.
- Valpo won 11 straight home games to close the 2001-02 campaign and captured its first nine home games in 2002-03.
- The 20-game home win streak ended Feb. 1, 2003 with an overtime loss to UMKC.
- Milwaukee enters Thursday night’s game at 12-5 overall and 3-1 in #HLMBB play so far this season.
- The Panthers are coming off a 65-62 win last time out at Cleveland State, and also own wins at Wisconsin and at Minnesota this season.
- Matt Tiby leads the Panthers, averaging 14.6 points and 8.8 rebounds per game, and is one of five MKE players averaging in double figures.
Peters Enjoys Career Night
- Junior Alec Peters put together one of the most impressive performances by anybody in college basketball this season in Sunday’s win at Detroit.
- Peters went 12-of-20 from the floor, including 4-of-10 from 3-point range, and 11-of-11 from the foul line for a career-best 39 points.
- Peters’ 39 points is believed to be tied for seventh-most in a single game in Crusader men’s basketball history.
- Peters’ 11-of-11 performance from the free throw stripe matched the most makes without a miss by a Crusader since Jamie Sykes went 13-of-13 at Northeastern Illinois in January of 1998.
- Peters added a career-best 14 rebounds, making him one of just three players in the nation to go for 39/14 or better this season (Ben Simmons - LSU; Brice Johnson - North Carolina).
- Peters earned his third career Player of the Week honor from the Horizon League office, was named #HLMBB and national High-Major Player of the Week by College Sports Madness, and earned Lou Henson Award National Player of the Week honors from College Insider.
Glance at the Rankings
- The Crusaders picked up votes in the Associated Press Top 25 preseason poll and in each of the season’s first two weeks.
- Valpo has moved back into the receiving votes section of both the AP and the coaches polls this week, earning six points in the AP poll and five points in the coaches poll.
- As of games of Jan. 12, Valpo ranked 22nd in the nation in RPI.
- Valpo enters this week atop the Mid-Major Madness Power 15 and ranked second in College Insider’s Mid-Major Top 25.
- Following the win over Detroit and subsequent results, the Crusaders have reached a high-water mark in Ken Pomeroy’s rankings, moving up to #18.
- Valpo closed last season at #61 in the KenPom ratings - its highest year-end ranking was back in 2001-02 (#51).
Getting It Done With Defense
- One of the best defensive teams in the nation last season, the Crusaders have been even stronger defensively this season.
- As of the start of play Wednesday, Valpo led the nation in Ken Pomeroy’s adjusted defensive efficiency.
- Valpo’s scoring defense (59.3 ppg) ranks fourth nationally, while its field goal percentage defense (37.0%) is good for eighth in the nation.
- Valpo has surrendered more than 67 points in only its three losses to Oregon, Ball State and Belmont.
- The Crusaders have limited Iona, Rhode Island, Oregon State and Belmont all under 60 points this season - none of the four teams have been held to fewer than 62 points in any other game - while they also held Oakland to 67 points, its second-lowest output of the year.
- Valpo has given up 47 or fewer points four times already this year - the first time the program has done that in one season since the 1948-49 campaign.
- Through three Horizon League games, the Crusaders have held their opponents’ leading scorer to combined 15-of-56 shooting (26.8%) from the floor.
Continued Success Within the League
- Valpo has been strong within Horizon League play since joining the league prior to the 2007-08 season.
- The Crusaders own a league record of 88-53 (.624) over the last eight-plus years and have had just one sub-.500 season in league play.
- Valpo has captured three of the last four Horizon League regular season titles.
- In Bryce Drew’s fifth season at the helm, the Crusaders are 52-17 (.754) within Horizon League play.
1,000 Wins for the Drews
- The Drew family dynasty reached a milestone in the Missouri State victory Dec. 19, as Valpo’s win gave Homer, Scott and Bryce Drew a combined 1,000 collegiate head coaching victories.
- The family now owns 1,007 combined wins, as Homer Drew won 640 career games, while Scott Drew owns 260 career wins and Bryce Drew enters Thursday with 107 wins.
- The Drew family ranks third in collegiate history (most of their careers at the D-I level) for combined wins, ranking behind only the Ibas and the Suttons.
- The Drews are closing in on another milestone as well, as they have combined to lead the Valpo program to 498 victories.
What’s Back This Season
- If you said “everything”, you’d be close – the Crusaders return nearly all their players from last year’s record-setting squad.
- 10 of last year’s 11 letterwinners are back for Valpo in 2015-16, comprising 98.8% of its scoring and rebounding and 98.3% of its minutes played from last year’s squad.
- Valpo is the only D-I team in at least the last three years to return all five starters from a team which won at least 28 games.
- Forward David Chadwick, who averaged 2.3 points and 1.3 rebounds per game in 12 appearances last year, is the only loss from last season.
- With so much returning from last year, the Crusaders have still found room for some new faces on this year’s squad.
- Lexus Williams is back for the Crusaders after missing the entirety of last season with a knee injury.
- LSU transfer Shane Hammink and UMKC transfer Chandler Levingston Simon are both eligible this season after sitting out last year.
- Derrik Smits is the lone freshman on this year’s team – the 7’1” center was an Indiana All-Star at Zionsville H.S.
High Praise Entering the Year
- With the glut of returnees from last year’s team, the Crusaders were on the receiving end of high praise from a myriad of national outlets entering the season.
- ESPN.com, SI.com, NBCSports.com, NCAA.com and CBSSports.com all listed Valpo at or near the top of their respective top mid-major teams during the preseason.
- The Crusaders were #35 in Ken Pomeroy’s preseason ratings and were ranked #41 entering the year by CBSSports.com.
- Valpo picked up five points in the preseason AP Top 25 poll.
- Individually, head coach Bryce Drew was tabbed one of 10 Coaches on the Rise by CBSSports.com’s Jon Rothstein.
- Vashil Fernandez was listed among the nation’s top-seven rim protectors by NCAA.com.
- Alec Peters is one of 20 players on the watch list for the Karl Malone Award, presented to the nation’s top power forward, and is also on the watch list for the Lou Henson Award.
- Valpo went on an international tour this past August to Canada, spending time in Montreal and Ottawa.
- It marks the second time in program history that the Crusaders have taken advantage of the chance to take an international trip.
- Valpo went 4-1 on the trip, with wins over the Montreal All-Stars, Brookwood Elite, McGill and Ottawa, and a loss to five-time defending national champion Carleton.
- Shane Hammink scored in double figures in all five games of the trip to lead the Crusaders.
The International Flavor
- This year’s squad continues the international pipeline that Valpo has cultivated over the past two decades.
- The Crusaders boast five international players on this year’s roster from four different countries.
- Represented are Canada (Joseph, T. Walker), Croatia (Skara), Jamaica (Fernandez) and Netherlands (Hammink).
- Over the past two decades, Valpo has welcomed 31 international players from 18 different countries.
- Three members of this year’s Crusader roster boast fathers who played at the highest level of pro basketball - in the NBA.
- Most notably, Derrik Smits’ father, Rik, played 12 seasons with the Indiana Pacers and was an All-Star.
- Chandler Levingston Simon’s father, Cliff Levingston, was an 11-year NBA vet who won two titles with the Chicago Bulls.
- Shane Hammink’s father, Geert, was a 1993 first-round draft pick who played parts of three seasons in the NBA.
- Bryce Drew is in his fifth season as head coach of @ValpoBasketball and is in his 11th season overall on the coaching staff.
- Drew was named HL Coach of the Year in 2014-15, leading Valpo to a school-record 28 victories and the league regular season and tournament titles.
- In 2013-14, Drew led the Crusaders to 18 wins and their fourth straight postseason berth.
- In 2012-13, Drew guided Valpo to its second straight regular season title, its first tournament title and a then-school record 26 wins.
- Drew was named Horizon League Coach of the Year in 2011-12 in his first season as head coach, winning 22 games and the league regular season title.
- Drew was the first Crusader men’s basketball Coach of the Year since 2001-02, when dad Homer won the honor in the Mid-Con.
- Drew ranks second among head coaches in program history in career wins.
- Prior to coaching, Drew spent seven seasons playing professionally, including six seasons in the NBA.
- Drew was a two-time Mid-Con MVP in his playing days with Valparaiso, helping the team to three NCAA tournament appearances.
- Drew hit “The Shot”, a buzzer-beating 3-pointer in the first round of the 1998 NCAA tournament, to lift the Crusaders over Ole Miss.
- “The Shot” was named one of the top-35 All-Time Madness Moments by the NCAA as part of the celebration of 75 Years of March Madness.
- Bryce is the third member of the Drew family to serve as head coach of the Valpo program.
- Father Homer was head coach from 1988-2002, and then returned to lead Valpo from 2003-11.
- Brother Scott (current head coach of Baylor) led the Crusaders during the 2002-03 season after nine seasons as an assistant under Homer.
- A Drew has been at the helm of the Crusaders for the last 27 years.
- The Drew family has combined to lead Valpo to 498 victories and 14 postseason appearances.
- Overall, the trio of Drews owns 1,007 collegiate victories over a combined 47 seasons of head coaching.